What to Know
- Some students at New York's Hofstra University want a Thomas Jefferson statue removed
- The students say that Jefferson was a slave owner who believed black people were inferior to whites and should not be displayed on campus
- Student activists are planning a Friday protest in front of the statue
Some students at New York's Hofstra University want a Thomas Jefferson statue removed because Jefferson was a slave owner who believed black people were inherently inferior to whites.
Student Ja'loni Owens started a Change.org petition demanding that administrators of the university on Long Island remove the statue and "no longer display it on campus."
The petition says that "Jefferson’s values aided in the construction of institutionalized racism and justified the subjugation of black people in the United States."
Owens and other student activists are planning a Friday protest in front of the statue.
Although he wrote that "all men are created equal," Jefferson owned more than 600 slaves over the course of his life. Jefferson believed that black and white people could never live peacefully together because black people were racially inferior.
Supporters of the statue say Jefferson was a monumental figure in U.S. history as a Founding Father and one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence.
In a statement, Hofstra administrators said that "the right to peaceful protest and assembly is at the core of our democracy. Hofstra supports our students’ right to engage in peaceful demonstrations about issues that matter to them. We look forward to continuing a civil exchange of ideas and perspectives on the subject."